With his deep pockets, success in as a private equity investor and promise to "shake up" Springfield, Gov. Bruce Rauner made a persuasive case to voters that he should be Illinois' governor.
I covered the 2014 governor’s race from the journalistic middle, breaking dozens of enterprising stories that tested the mettle of both Rauner and Quinn and that other media followed. I appeared frequently as an analyst on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight" and did on-air, election-night analysis on the campaign for NBC5, WLS-AM and WGN-AM.
Rauner wore a Carhartt jacket and an $18 watch and dropped the "g" from any word he spoke with an "-ing" ending. But that sometimes-clunky effort at folksiness wasn't what enabled him to throttle Quinn.
The governor-to-be put a record-setting $27.5 million of his own wealth into a campaign that offered sparse policy positions and effectively deflected questions about his flip-flops on raising the minimum wage, his enormous personal riches and his record running a successful private equity firm in Chicago.
Quinn entered the 2014 campaign as one of the most poorly regarded governors in the country, having presided over an unpopular, 2011 temporary increase in the state income tax, which ranked among his few big legislative successes during his five years in office.
Despite cultivating a reformer image his entire political career, Quinn faced charges of patronage at the Illinois Department of Transportation, where a federal judge installed a hiring monitor. And his showpiece 2010 anti-violence grant program, the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, drew scrutiny from federal investigators.